The Cave of Lost Souls | By: David Wolstenhome | | Category: Short Story - Other Bookmark and Share

The Cave of Lost Souls

The Cave of Lost Souls
By David Wolstenhome

As Bob Wallis trudged through the slimy mud and rotten leaves of the forest floor, his bearded face obscured by a dark green and orange balaclava, stared up at the night sky through the thick branches of the Unknown Forest.
Bob had been travelling for three weeks now, without the slightest sign of his goal; the Cave of Lost Souls.
Bob remembered, like it was yesterday, when the mysterious man came to his house. He had been sitting at his kitchen table reading the newspaper, waiting for the kettle to boil, when he had heard a knock at the front door. He had thought it was the old lady next door returning the milk he had lent her. But when he opened the door, he discovered that there was no milk to be returned.
Standing in the doorway, framed against the glow of the street lamp, was a tall, thin man, wearing a long cloak. The man’s face was cast in shadow because he was wearing a hat with a wide brim. Bob had been quite nervous, but decided it would be better to be polite, and said “May I help you?”
“No” said the cloaked figure, his voice sounded like a car driving over gravel “I am here to help you”.
The mysterious man then explained that many miles east there was a forest, and in that forest was the Cave of Lost Souls, and if Bob could find that place, a great fortune would come to him, and with that, the cloaked man turned and left.
Bob remembered thinking that although the figure was probably a bit mad, Bob did have a huge bank debt, and a fortune would be just the thing for him. So he decided to search for this Unknown Forest.
Bob packed some food into a backpack, jumped into his jeep and set off. It took him two weeks to find this forest, which he knew was the right forest because it had a sign outside saying “Unknown Forest-try not to die”, which Bob raised an eyebrow at, but decided not to take seriously (which turned out to be the biggest mistake of his life).
So there he was, a week later, trudging through the Unknown Forest, looking, currently unsuccessfully, for the Cave of Lost Souls. Indeed, Bob was starting to wonder whether the mysterious man had been lying, but he decided to carry on anyway, so he walked on.
About four hours later, Bob saw a light, shining about a mile away, and he stood staring at it, eyes wide open. A few minutes later, he thought of walking towards the light, which he decided would be the best thing to do.
When Bob reached the light, he saw that it was coming from an electric torch, lying abandoned on the forest floor, which was slightly odd, especially as it was turned on, Bob thought. If it had fallen out of someone’s backpack, it would have been turned off, and if someone had died when holding it, there would have been a body nearby, which there did not seem to be. Bob supposed the best explanation was that the torch fell out of somebody’s backpack, and then an animal turned it on by accident.
Bob picked the torch up and held it along with his own, to provide twice as much light, and then he realised that he was very tired, and decided to sleep until the next night.
Three hours into Bob’s next night of searching, he heard a snap somewhere behind him. At first he thought he had stepped on a stick, but then realised that he would have felt it if he had.
Almost as soon as Bob had stopped to listen, a shape leaped out of the foliage behind him, a knife flashing in its hand. Bob would have died if he hadn’t fallen over in astonishment.
The figure flew over Bob’s head and landed hard on a big rock as the knife flew out of its grip.
The man cried a disgraceful swear word, stood up straight, and stepped into a patch of moonlight. Bob’s eyes widened when he saw that the man was tall and thin, with a cloak and a wide brimmed hat which now lay on the rock, having been knocked off the man’s head by the impact.
“You!” gasped Bob, his eyes looking into those of the man who came to his house that night three weeks ago.
“Me.” Said the man in his gravelly voice, then seeing that Bob was speechless, explained himself the way villains do. “I needed the fortune from the Cave of Lost Souls, but it won’t be free. I needed a sacrifice, and I chose you to be my sacrifice”.
“But why not just kill me in my house?” asked Bob.
“I would have looked suspicious dragging a dead body through a town,” came the reply.
“Why me?” cried Bob.
“Why not you?” replied the man, and pounced at Bob for the second time that night.
Bob was ready for the attack this time, and jumped to the side, as the man flew past, tripped over a rock, and vanished from view.
Bob went to see where the man had fallen, and looked, in shock, at the massive sloping chasm that he had completely failed to notice earlier. About ten metres down the slope was the mark where his attacker had hit after hurtling so fast, and the trail down that marked where the man had slid down the slope.
Bob was about to leave when he noticed, at the bottom of the chasm, and almost 300 metres to the left, was a pool of strange greenish light. Bob had never seen light look like that, and he thought it was coming from a cave. He was strangely excited as he ran 300 metres along the top of the chasm, put his backpack in front of him for cushioning, and slid down the side.
He made it to the bottom almost in one piece, although his leg did ache considerably. He massaged it for a few minutes, then got up, brushed himself down, and turned to look into the mouth of the cave.
His first impression was a lot of green light, but as his eyes adjusted to it, he saw that the light was coming from around the corner. He ran towards the corner, and then around it, he stopped and stared.
A man was standing in front of what looked like a sphere of green light. A man with a long cloak and a hat with a wide brim…
“Oh no,” moaned Bob quietly, then he realised something was strange about the man; he didn’t seem right somehow. Then Bob realised. “You’re a…”
“Ghost,” interrupted the man. “I was always a ghost.” Then he pulled a massive knife from behind his back.
Bob wasn’t quite stupid enough to fight a ghost with a knife that big, so he decided to do what he thought was the best option; he turned and ran.
The ghost gave chase, his knife swishing through the air, his cloak flying out behind him.
Bob was running faster than he possibly could, his backpack and torch left at the mouth of the cave. He ran through bushes, mud and piles of leaves, but however fast he ran, the ghost was gaining on him.
Bob then did what was the worst- and last- mistake of his life; he turned to see how far the ghost was behind him, and as a result, he did not see a root sticking up through the forest floor.
His foot collided with the root, and he tripped and flew spectacularly through the air. By the time his head had turned back to face forwards, it was far too late to avoid a very sharp branch that was coming directly towards his face.


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